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Today we're talking new beauty launches! There have been a few this year that I've been rotating in and testing out, so it seemed time to return my verdict on them...
This weighty, humectant essence feels like something between a serum and a toner, maybe even leaning a little more towards the former. Glycerin, the polyglutamic acid derivative and the hyaluronic acid derivative in this formula will really help draw hydration into the skin. Niacinamide is in here as a multi-tasker, with its ability to inhibit the spread of discolouration in the skin, regulate oil production and boost the skin's production of ceramides, an essential component of your lipid barrier (which is what keeps your skin strong and healthy). There are also fermented ingredients in here, which show promise in helping foster a stronger skin barrier too. My only negative is really the fragrance; firstly, it's just not to my taste and it's quite noticeable upon application (though it dissipates once applied), but secondly, I just don't love fragrance in products aimed at supporting your skin barrier because it can be a little irritating. If this isn't a consideration for you; I do find this really hydrating and plumping and it provides a great base for the rest of my skincare routine.
This is essentially a peptide plus humectant and antioxidant serum. There's hyaluronic acid at varied molecular weights to deliver hydration to the different layers of the skin. The peptide in this formula has been noted as specifically good for well-ageing; it can help slow down collagen degradation and also has the ability to reduce inflammation in the skin. Peptides are also hydrating so you're getting that superficial plumping effect too. We have some antioxidant sources in here too, which help protect the skin from free radical damage, and some extracts that can help reduce redness and inflammation. This serum honestly feels like a glass of water for my skin; it's lightweight, it doesn't pill and it leave my skin fresh, dewy, hydrated and plump after use.
I have to be honest; I don't feel like I've been able to give this product a fair shot, simply because my skin leans towards dryness and here in the UK we have snow on the way this week, so a water cream just isn't what I'd gravitate towards. I felt like this just wasn't enough for my skin right now, but my plan is to give this a go during the summer to be able to give my opinion in the context I'd usually reach for a product like this in. So, I'll just give you an overview of the texture and formula. This is a humectant-rich gel-cream with body and it doesn't dissolve on the skin like some formulas I've tried do. It contains humectants but also ceramides, nourishing shea butter, replenishing squalane oil, sunflower, castor seed and safflower oils, plus fermented extracts and Vitamin E (as an antioxidant). All-in-all it's a great list of ingredients, but the serum is my preference at the moment; I look forward to giving this a fair shot in a few months...
Alpha-H is known for the heavy-duty, not-for-the-faint-hearted Liquid Gold chemical exfoliant, so a gentler alternative seems like the product we didn't know we needed. The price-point is pretty high, but so is that of Liquid Gold, so it's probably not a huge surprise to existing fans of the brand. This product is formulated with a skin-friendly 5% blend of lactic acid (the gentler, more hydrating sibling of glycolic acid, which is featured in liquid gold) and supporting acids: malic, tartaric and citric. This is also formulated with fermented ingredients, which can be great for the skin barrier. In terms of pros, I do really like the weighter, more hydrating essence quality of this formula; this isn't something I often see in exfoliating formulas. In terms of cons; I don't love that this contains so many fragrant extracts! If the point is to offer an alternative to Liquid Gold that's less likely to trigger irritation, I really would've preferred it to be free of ingredients that can be problematic for sensitive or reactive skin. Especially given this is an exfoliant and the exfoliation process can leave the skin barrier a little more compromised. I personally found this was a little irritating at times, so even though it does smooth the skin and give it a glow, I can't recommend it based on my experience!
Medik8 Press & Clear Exfoliating 2% BHA Tonic* | £34 (refill £29)
I have a drier skin type but I still get hormonal breakouts, so it's important for me to have blemish-fighting formulas in my routine that don't strip or dry out my skin. Salicylic acid is the gold standard for BHAs, with its ability to get into the pore and clear out the debris that leads to breakouts, as well as helping with surface scarring, and this contains an effective 2%. This is also helped along with tranexamic acid being included in this formula, which helps even out discolouration. It also contains fermented ingredients to hydrate the skin and contribute to its overall health. There's aloe in here too which is soothing, and can be great to use alongside an exfoliant. I really like this formula; it's not drying, it's not harsh, it doesn't irritate my skin and it's really helped with some spots and bumps I've been getting lately, reducing down active breakouts and helping clear blemish marks. It's a little more on the pricey side but if you need a sensitive skin friendly formula that's non-drying; it could be worth it for you!
This has definitely been one of my favourite new product discoveries of 2023! I'm really not a mask person, whether that's wash-off masks or sleeping masks, I can rarely be bothered. But, this formula was something special... It's a two-step product with a water-based hydrating step followed by a rich creamy step. The overall formula is designed to be the perfect balance of the three moisturising agents our skin needs: humectants (to draw water into the skin), emollients (to soften the skin) and occlusives (to trap hydration into the skin). Step 1 contains your humectants and water-based hydration and skin-soothers; glycerin, aloe, Sodium PCA, allantoin and urea, to name a few. Step 2 contains your oil-based skin barrier boosting ingredients and hydration-sealing occlusives; squalane, ceramides, dimethicone and more. It's not heavy, I love the two-step delivery system (which makes it a 'do-it-all' for me on rushed evenings) and it leaves my skin soft, happy, healthy and balanced after use.
This is truly a product type I've not come across before! You'd have to be new to this blog not to know that I love retinal; it's the more potent older sibling of retinol, and like this entire retinoid ingredient family, it has the power to boost collagen production, smooth fine lines, even out the skin texture and reduce signs of photoageing. It's not a really common ingredient on the skincare market, though its becoming more popular each year, and I've never come across it in this type of formula. The product also contains salicylic acid, to help with blemishes and scarring, and azelaic acid to improve redness and discolouration. This product contains 0.2% retinal in a lipid gel which emulsifies on contact with water. You use this by massaging it into the skin for around 30 seconds before leaving it to sit for a further 90 before rinsing it off the skin. That's all! I was honestly a little dubious at first, but after over a month of use; I felt like I could say I was still seeing my retinoid results, using this product every day. My skin is smooth, it's looking plump, even and glowing. I think this could be a great innovation for those with a low tolerance to retinoids, because of the short contact therapy; it's non-irritating, it's in a moisturising base and - most importantly - it's not on the skin for too long.
I was a huge fan of the original Vitamin C / antioxidant serum formula from Cipher (reviewed here) so I definitely felt a little trepidation when I saw it had been reformulated. Both the texture and the ingredients are pretty different. It has an opaque, creamy texture and can sometimes pill a little depending on what you've used underneath it. In terms of ingredients, Cipher have a really interesting innovation here too; this contains encapsulated ascorbic acid. This is the pure form of Vitamin C, which we like because it can boost collagen production, protect the skin from environmental damage and improve the appearance of discolouration. The issue is that it's often unstable and difficult to formulate with; encapsulating it helps avoid some of these issues whilst still delivering on the benefits. This is bolstered by a Vitamin C derivative and other antioxidants; this combination can stabilise but also boost the efficacy of the formula. There are also soothing and hydrating ingredients in here (plus some gentle actives to improve skin clarity) to make this a really well-rounded one-step serum for your AM routine. I'm a little torn on this; it's non-irritating, it's effective and I think the innovation is fantastic, but for me - I just preferred the texture of the original formula. This doesn't slot quite so easily into my routine alongside the other products I like to use, and that's what prevents it from being a favourite! Hopefully this can be improved in the next iteration of this product.
Have you tried any of these new launches? Or have any caught your eye?